Ask the Herbalist: Natural Remedies for Dehydration & Tummy Troubles

Q: Can you share any natural remedies for dehydration? My 5 year old son has a case of gastroenteritis caused by some medication for bronchitis. It’s been about 6 days of constant diarrhea, with vomiting multiple times a day!

We have taken him to the doctor but I worry about him getting severely dehydrated. I told the doctor I was giving him coconut water to prevent dehydration and he told that was not a good option. Any suggestions?

A: That sounds absolutely miserable. Your doctor probably told you coconut water wasn’t a good option because it doesn’t have enough sodium in it to replace what your son is losing.

If you can get him to drink some herbal teas (chamomile is very soothing to upset stomachs or the blackberry root tea recipe below) and eat some vegetable or chicken broth or bone broth, you should be able to get the nutrients in that he needs to replace.

Dehydration & Tummy Troubles: Master herbalist, Susie Lyons, shares natural, home-care tips to prevent dehydration when your child has a stomach bug.


Rather than solid food, try to get him to eat a little yogurt, too, and get the bacteria in his gut back in balance along with a child’s dosage of acidophilus every hour (about 1/8 of a teaspoon) until the diarrhea stops.

You’re absolutely right to consider the risk of dehydration. That is always a possibility with severe diarrhea (and the vomiting doesn’t help, either). If he is drinking, try giving him warm baths to help his body absorb the fluids he’s taking in. If he hasn’t urinated in 6 hours, he’s probably dehydrated and that calls for medical intervention.

All that being said, this recipe is one of the best I’ve seen for stopping diarrhea, especially in children. This plus the advice above are some effective natural remedies for dehydration.

Blackberry Root Tea

  • 3 parts blackberry root
  • 2 parts slippery elm bark (make sure you get this from a trusted source)
  • 1/8 part cinnamon
  • Maple syrup to taste

Mix the herbs and put them in an airtight container. Simmer 1 teaspoon of the herb mixture in 1 cup of water for 20 minutes. Strain, add the maple syrup to taste and let the mixture cool. Administer 2 to 4 teaspoons every hour, or more often as needed.

Sources for Herbs and Herbal Remedies

With these and all herbs, make sure you are getting them from a trusted source that sells only organically grown herbs. Always consult your doctor, naturopath or herbalist before you start a regimen with herbal remedies if you have any medical conditions, especially those that affect how your body metabolizes medications. If you want to use herbs to treat your family, here are some good sources:

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